Constituent Assembly (CA) Chairman Subas Nembang has called a CA meeting for February 5 even as polarization among the major political forces has further sharpened, mainly after the ruling parties pushed for taking the constitution-making process ahead through a majority process.
Manohar Prasad Bhattarai, general secretary of the CA secretariat, on Monday issued a notice to lawmakers to attend the meeting, which was earlier deferred until further notice.
Nembang said he called the meeting as the deadline given to the CA’s proposal drafting committee expires on Wednesday and the committee may by then come up with a report to submit to the plenary.
The CA plenary had given five working days to the committee, which began its work on Saturday. The proposal drafting committee is tasked with preparing questionnaires on the disputes concerning constitution-making so that these can be put to a vote in the CA plenary.
“Since the proposal drafting committee deadline is expiring on Wednesday, I have to keep the full CA and the secretariat ready to receive its report by that date,” Nembang told Republica.
Sources at the CA secretariat said that the meeting might extend the committee’s deadline for some days as it is unlikely to have completed the given task. “In a normal political situation, such a committee can extend the deadline and get the decision endorsed when the full CA is convened.
But since relations between the ruling and opposition sides have seriously deteriorated, the CA chair can’t take such a risk,” said the source. However, the opposition parties have announced that they are not to attend the CA meeting on Thursday, saying that it was only a continuation of the majority process pushed unilaterally by the ruling parties. “We will not attend the meeting as there is no point joining it because the CA chairman hasn’t corrected course nor have the ruling parties taken any initiative to write the new constitution in consensus,” UCPN (Maoist) Chief Whip Girirajmani Pokharel told Republica.
He, however, was quick to add that the UCPN (Maoist) was not for boycotting the CA altogether. “We are for making the new constitution in consensus,” he explained. According to him, the 18-party alliance led by the UCPN (Maoist) will hold a meeting and chart its course in the changed context.
While the UCPN (Maoist)-led alliance of opposition parties has announced a boycott of the CA meeting, the fourth-largest party, Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, has also announced that it is to obstruct CA procedures if any proposal regarding the questionnaire committee is tabled. Though the RPP-N had earlier joined the questionnaire committee, the party on Sunday boycotted it as RPP-N lawmakers weren’t allowed to register their questions on republicanism, secularism and federalism.